Four-star Atlanta (GA) Westlake CB Myles "Spider" Sims announced his commitment to Michigan today, less than a month removed from an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor. Sims is a Michigan transplant—his parents worked for GM—so this is a homecoming of sorts.
— SPIDER (@simsmyles) April 7, 2017
One of Michigan's top 2018 targets, Sims is the fourth commit in the class, joining IN OG Emil Ekiyor, MI DE Aidan Hutchinson, and GA OLB Otis Reese. All are four-star prospects.
4*, #11 CB,
4*, #8 CB,
4*, 80, #17 S,
3*, 88, #38 CB,
4*, #17 CB,
There's a significant split in Sims' rankings, though if his offer sheet is any indication, that gap is going to close in the direction of the bullish Scout/Rivals rankings.
A major reason so many top programs want Sims is his size. At 6'3", 173 lbs. (Scout and 247 list him at a more specific 6'2.5"), he projects as either a corner in the Stribling/Clark mold or a rangy safety.
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The common theme in Sims' scouting reports is praise for his size/range combination; he's nicknamed "Spider" for a reason. Scout's free eval mentions that right off the bat:
Sims is a long and rangy defensive back with the ability to play cornerback or free safety on the next level. With Sims, what stands out immediately is his frame and length. He covers a lot of ground and he can get his hands on a lot of footballs in coverage. He is still thin, so he needs to add mass and strength, but that should come in time. In coverage, he is best when playing off coverage. He can still improve his quickness in short space. He has great body control, he can make plays on the ball and he is a very smart defensive back in coverage. His tackling is solid.
Rivals' Adam Friedman named Sims one of the standouts of the Under Armour Future 50, held in December in the leadup to their All-American game:
Quarterbacks had a hard time throwing around Sims because of his great length. He covered so much ground and didn’t jump double moves. Sims got better and better with each rep he took and denied the pass to his receiver. He is a lot like former Clemson defensive back Jayron Kearse.
Kearse is an interesting comparison. He was a 6'4" S/OLB prospect out of high school who ended up as a strong safety at Clemson; he entered the 2016 draft early, surprisingly fell to the seventh round, and got significant playing time for the Vikings as a rookie before getting hurt.
The big question with Sims, as with most taller defensive backs, is whether he has the requisite agility to play corner. After seeing him at the Atlanta Opening regional in March, Sam Webb believes he does:
6'3, 179 and really fluid. You wonder if kids as long as him are coordinated if they have loose hips. The answer for Simms is yes, all of the above. He showed ability to break on the ball exceptionally well. Has really good football and ball speed, a really good jumpball guy. Wants to be a corner and looks like he could play it at the college level. If that doesn't work out he could be an outstanding safety.
While 247 didn't include Sims among their top five defensive performers from that event, they mentioned that he "was the quickest defensive back at the event and he has a huge wingspan." He earned a more positive mention from 247's Keith Neibuhr the following week at Under Armour's Atlanta camp:
Sims, a 4-star recruit and Michigan lean, ran hot and cold a week earlier at The Opening Atlanta Regional, but Sunday he was locked in. Aggressive and physical in coverage, he also utilized his great length to break up passes.
ESPN is the only site to categorize Sims as a safety; there's a significant chance he ends up there at Michigan, so let's take a look at their eval:
STRENGTHS: Very tall with great length and range. Fast and reactive enough to play high safety and make big stops in 1st level. Flashes the ball skills and leaping ability to win most jump-ball passes. Understands the game and puts himself into sound position. ... AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: Will come up versus the run but not with a decisive, physical manner on a consistent basis. Needs to add serious bulk and functional strength. Not overly explosive and lacks elite top-end speed. ... BOTTOM LINE: Sims is a tall, athlete defender with lots of upside. While he'll need to add bulk and refine his technique, he possesses most qualities sought-after in a safety prospect.
Sims should initially get a shot at corner, since a 6'3" athlete who can play that position is a potential All-American and future pro. Free safety looks to be a very viable backup plan.
Sims holds a very impressive offer list featuring Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Louisville, LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, USC, Virginia Tech, Washington, and West Virginia, among several others. Given that he's just beginning his senior-year camp season, that's a remarkably impressive list.
Sims is the eighth four-star or better prospect to emerge from Westlake in the Rivals era (2002-present). The school has produced two five-stars: 2017 Clemson CB signee AJ Terrell and a 2007 Florida QB signee by the name of Cameron Newton. Westlake has also produced a number of three-star prospects, including former Alabama OG standout and first-round pick Chance Warmack.
None that I could find.
FAKE 40 TIME
Sims has full testing numbers from his Opening regional appearance: 4.73 40-yard dash (zero FAKEs), an impressive 4.00 shuttle, 36.4-inch vertical jump, and 40.0-foot powerball throw for a solid 115.59 SPARQ rating. While he doesn't have elite top-end speed, the vertical and powerball throw indicate he's relatively explosive, and that shuttle time provides reason to believe he can stick at corner.
Sophomore highlights and single-game reels can be found on his Hudl page.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Whether at corner or safety, Sims is going to get the chance to bulk up and develop for a year or two before he's pressed into service. Michigan has a lot of talent at cornerback in the two classes ahead of him (Long, Hill, St-Juste, Thomas); ditto at safety (Hudson, Metellus, Kelly-Powell, Woods). He still looks like a player who will push for snaps when he's ready physically; his size, range, and ball skills will cover for a lot of technical shortcomings. Given his versatility, I think he winds up as a safety in Don Brown's defense, which will allow him to go between making plays as a centerfielder and playing man coverage closer to the line.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Sims is a great start to Michigan's defensive back recruiting. Other top targets in the secondary include five-star CA CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart, four-star FL CB Josh Jobe (a soft Miami commit), and three-star TX twin corners Gemon and German Green.